Built in 1658 during the Qing Dynasty the monastery underwent significant renovations later on during the same dynasty. Housing various Buddhist artefacts from various time periods, the monastery is a very interesting sight to explore.
It is essentially divided into two sections– the West being that of the old monastery and the East being the new monastery buildings. In the centre of these two sections lies the Main Shrine Hall in which resides a statue of Sakyamuni that weighs 6 tonnes and stands at a height of 7 feet. On the lotus base of this statue are intricately carved 9,999 Buddha statues.
The Compassion Hall is occupied by a sheer mud statue of the Thousand-Hand Kwan Yin. The monastery used to be home to the skull relic of the great Xuanzang Master. However in 1956 the relic was taken to India, by the Dalai Lama – as it is popularly believed – and now resides at the Patna Museum. The hall that contained the relic now keeps a picture of the Master as well as Hongyi Master for the worship of Buddhist visitors.
The Western side or the older part of the Monastery now houses offices for the Abbot Palace, Cultural Relic Palace, and Chinese Buddhism Association. The cultural Relic Palace has proved to be a popular attraction with its unique Buddhist artefacts and statues made out of various materials such as iron, wood, metal, stone, jade etc.
The Dabei Monastery is also famous for the exquisite vegetarian meals made and is the only monastery in Tianjin to do so. Vegetarian Dumplings, soybean high calcium noodles, and vegetarian steamed buns are some of the items offered by the Tianjin Dabei Buddhist Monastery Vegetarian Food Corporation.
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